Constructing Texan identity at Texas monthly magazine


Constructing Texan identity at Texas monthly magazine

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Title: Constructing Texan identity at Texas monthly magazine
Author: Sivek, Susan Currie, 1980-
Abstract: Today's media are a significant force in aiding individuals in constructing an understanding of their own identities and their place within the world. Therefore, closer attention should be paid to the processes by which media themselves construct those identities and make them available to audiences. This case study explores the means by which Texas Monthly magazine constructs a sense of Texan identity. Employing a media sociology perspective, the study combines three research techniques: content analysis, indepth interviews, and textual analysis. The magazine includes primarily white and wealthy individuals in its version of Texan identity, suggesting that this identity is narrowly applicable, despite the actual diversity of the state. The magazine's content does little to define, deepen, or critique that geographic identity. Furthermore, it seems difficult for the Texas Monthly staff to explain exactly the notion of Texan identity that provides a foundation for the magazine's composition, and advertisers appear to be little concerned with this concept. An examination of the magazine's coverage of President George W. Bush additionally reveals the indistinct and somewhat arbitrary nature of Texan identity within Texas Monthly, as Bush's geographic identity alters in accordance with his political status. Overall, the magazine's image of Texan identity is largely positive yet insubstantial, a surprising finding given its claim to be the "national magazine of Texas." This construction of Texan identity suggests and supports the magazine's need to preserve a positive and commercially appealing image of Texas, both for its readers and for its financial success. In constructing the magazine, then, its staff must weigh this need against the goal of journalism to provide wide-ranging and critical perspectives for audiences. The roles of both consumerism and citizenship in today's media world are clearly demonstrated in the unique position of Texas Monthly as a journalistic product
Department: Journalism
Subject: Texas monthly
Date: 2008-08

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